WarbirdsNews has been following the developments concerning Columbine II, the Lockheed C-121A Constellation used by President Eisenhower. We are sure many of our readers are just as interested. As we reported HERE in mid-February, Karl Stoltzfus, and his company Dynamic Aviation of Bridgewater, Virginia are evaluating the aircraft with a view to purchasing it, and returning it to flying condition. On March 8th, Stoltzfus and a team of fifteen engineers from Dynamic Aviation and Scott Glover’s Mid America Flight Museum arrived in Marana, Arizona to begin a comprehensive inspection of Columbine II.
Yesterday we received a message from Karl’s twin brother, Ken Stoltzfus, and he relayed to us the following…
“The comprehensive pre-purchase inspection of Columbine II, and preparations for the proposed ferry flight to Bridgewater, VA, are proceeding well with Dynamic Aviation and Mid America Flight Museum teams. The results so far are encouraging and a final decision on the purchase will be made by April 28, after which a proposed ferry flight time-frame will be announced.”
Ken Stoltzfus went on to say, “Karl and Dynamic Aviation are making a lot of progress and Scott Glover’s help is a big part of that. I wouldn’t say Karl has made the final decision to purchase Columbine II, but he’s getting closer and closer. The airframe is in excellent condition and he’s very pleased with that. Getting the engines running, and checked them out at high power, etc., is crucial. I’m not sure what the plan would be if they didn’t perform in a way that appeared safe for the ferry flight. He’s taking one step at a time and being very deliberate, which is why he wanted the 90-day due-diligence period before taking the final plunge.
It is obvious that Karl is deeply committed to the project, but in general he tends to do, and then talk. In the case of Columbine II we publicized the project in order to try to find parts, and help, but now he will proceed ….and probably won’t make any statements about ferry flight … until he’s more sure. There is only a remote possibility that it could be this spring, otherwise next fall. We can still hope, though!”
This is complex exercise, and the team are going through the aircraft in a meticulous manner which indicates the seriousness of their intent. This is no typical inspection though, as they are going through the systems with a fine tooth comb, especially the engines and propellers. This has included replacing all of the flexible fluid lines and many of the spark plugs, cleaning and/or repairing the fuel injectors, scrubbing the oil tanks of all the settled ooze, inspecting the chip detectors for metal shavings, x-raying the propellers, removing the tail cone for inspection, worked on the flaps and flap mechanisms amongst many other things. They are also bringing the aircraft up to fulfill any outstanding Airworthiness Directives. So it’s a massive undertaking for all concerned. But short of any terminal problems, it seems very likely that Columbine II will be moving to a new home in Virginia before too long. We at WarbirdsNews wish to thank Ken Stoltzfus for his updates, and to wish he and Dynamic Aviation all the very best in their efforts to resurrect Columbine II. As always, WarbirdsNews will be bringing you further updates as soon as they are available. Undoubtedly, Dynamic Aviation are still in need of some of the Constellation items mentioned in our previous article HERE, so please do contact them if you can help out.